Google enters local enterprise market

More than four years after its first enterprise search appliance launched in the US, Google is marketing the two server products locally.

The Google Search Appliance and Google Mini will let businesses use the company's search technology across internal content, including file servers, databases, business applications, and Web sites.

Google also debuted the OneBox feature of the Google Search Appliance which lets employees access real-time information from enterprise sources, like CRM, ERP, and BI systems.

ChannelWorx will distribute Google Enterprise products in Australia and New Zealand and services provider BearingPoint has launched a search solutions practice for enterprise customers.

Kevin Gough, Google enterprise product manager, said the appliances continuously index corporate information based on how frequently it is accessed, and the search results can be customized into home-grown Web applications.

"Google OneBox for Enterprise gives a human interface to enterprise information," Gough said. "The search appliance makes CRM, CMS and the world's information accessible from one box."

Gough said a search of "East Coast sales", for example, will return unstructured information and a sales trend graph integrated on the same Web page.

"We're moving search form the top right of the page to the centre and believe it will be the primary way people access information," he said.

Gough said the search appliance integrates with existing enterprise security policies ensuring users can see only the information they have permission to view.

Enterprise search with Google is a change of the same magnitude as going from the mainframe to desktop, or from the desktop to the Web, BearingPoint managing director and partner, Rob Hillard said.

"Enterprises are using the same applications but changing the way they access the information," Hillard said, adding BearingPoint is investing in adapters to access information sitting in enterprise applications.

Google is also partnering with software and software-as-a-service vendors to develop Google Search Appliance plug-ins for applications from Oracle, Microsoft Exchange, and Salesforce.com.

With some 200 Australian companies wanting to evaluate the appliances, according to Google, the first units arrived in the country this week and at least one unit has already been sold.

While the boxes run a modified version of Linux, only the source code for the modifications Google makes to the open source software will be released and not all of the appliance's code.

The Google Search Appliance can index up to 15,000,000 documents. Pricing starts at $74,486 for up to 500,000 documents. The Google Mini starts at $4965 for up to 50,000 documents - including hardware, software and a year of support.

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